Cell Block Sisters: Banished Behind Bars


Directed by Henri Charr (who also directed Caged Hearts) who also co-wrote the script with Jess Mancilla and Robert Newcastle, this 1995 film stars Annie Wood and Gail Harris as sisters April and May. We learn in the opening scene that 16 years earlier, when both girls were toddlers, they were “sold” by their drug addict trailer-park trash stepfather (Red Horton) who then accidentally killed their mother. The girls were adopted by separated families. Gail was taken to England and raised by wealthy parents, becoming a prim and proper lady, while April was taken to L.A. and raised by poorer parents and is currently the leader of a wild biker gang. Somehow they’ve gotten in contact with each other, and May has flown to L.A. to meet April, only to be shocked to discover her sister’s lifestyle (they meet when April’s gang arranges to hijack and rob the bus that May was riding in on her way to visit her). Despite their vastly different personalities, the two sisters seem to instantly bond. But May is shocked when the next day April takes her to where they find their biological father, and to May’s shock, April shoots him dead in front of her. April and the rest of her gang get away, but May is caught at the scene by police. She refuses to give any information about her sister, and is sent to jail. In the jail, May runs afoul of a prison gang leader named Manny (who is played by Jenna Bodnar.). Then April gets herself arrested on purpose, by robbing a fast food place, so she can get into jail in order to defend May against Manny, with whom April has past history with on the streets. Once in jail with May, April comes up with a plan to take down Manny and her gang and to break out of prison. Or something. I’m not exactly sure, the plot for this film doesn’t make all that much sense.

Even going by the traditional tropes of Women In Prison movies, this film is lacking. When May first enters the prison, there’s the obligatory stripping scene, where the group of inmates have to strip and then sit in a room naked while the warden gives them a speech. But after that there’s one shower scene, and that’s 40 minutes into the film, which ends in a brawl. And there’s only one proper sex scene, that’s between Gail Harris and Dean Howell, who plays a police detective whose investigating her case, and that’s an hour into the film. After that, there’s some fights, and big riot before the film races to it’s climax. Wood, Harris, and Bodnar are fine in their roles, as is Jamie Donahue, who has a significant supporting role as May’s cellmate. But overall this film is just pretty bland.

Chacebook rating: THREE STARS


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